04/25/2012 : ANOTHER U.S. STATE WANTS IN ON SPORTS BETTING
California bill progresses in the state Legislature
New Jersey, with its challenge to the federal Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act, has tended to dominate the news on the expansion of sports betting in the United States beyond a few favoured states, but this week California hit the headlines with its own bid.
State Senator Rod Wright, who also has an online poker legalization bill in the legislative works, has introduced bill SB1390, which seeks to legalise in-person Nevada-style sports betting at California’s racetracks, card clubs and Indian casinos, and therefore constitutes another challenge to PASPA.
Although still in the early stages of its path through the gauntlet of California lawmakers and interested parties, the bill progressed Tuesday when it was unanimously passed by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, setting it up for a Senate vote and perhaps ultimately the approval of the state Legislature as a whole.
At that point California's governor will be faced with the same decision as his counterpart in New Jersey; are there any constitutional impediments to opening up sports betting in the state, and how to navigate around a federal act that limits sports betting to just three states?
Reporting on the bill, the LA Times noted that Sen. Wright is confident that the federal ban will eventually be lifted, although the timeframe was difficult to predict.
"Californians spend multiple billions of dollars going to places [jurisdictions] where this is legal," Wright told the members of the committee, which he chairs.
SB1390 seeks to permit sports betting at existing California horse-racing tracks, card clubs and Indian casinos; it is supported by the California Gaming Association.